New Quay, or Cei Newydd in Welsh, in Cardigan Bay on the Cambrian coast is one of the best spots to see bottlenose dolphins in the British Isles.
It’s also very picturesque, with cottages, pubs and restaurants clinging to the sides of the hills rising above the blue waters.
There’s also plenty to see and do.
1. Explore the Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre
The Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre (CBMWC) runs regular survey trips to monitor the local dolphin population, and other marine life such as Atlantic grey seals and harbour porpoises.
For a small fee you can join them as they collect data, supporting their research in the process.
Good news for landlubbers is that the dolphins can often be seen surfing the waves around the harbour, or if the pods are further out to sea you can climb up past the pastel-coloured houses to the coastal path north of New Quay and view them with a pair of binoculars.
2. Drink at the pubs in New Quay
Many believe that New Quay is the “cliff-perched town at the far end of Wales” immortalised by Dylan Thomas in his famous poem Under Milk Wood.
Thomas lived in New Quay in 1944, and you can follow the local Dylan Thomas Trail to his bungalow Majoda – but unless you want to bait the present owner it’s best to stick to the sights in town.
Happily, these are mainly pubs (Thomas died of chronic alcohol poisoning).
There’s The Seahorse with its good selection of Brains beers, the Dolau Inn where his wife Caitlin drank, and his favourite, The Black Lion Hotel, which has a large beer garden overlooking the sea.
3. Enjoy the seafood in Cardigan Bay
It’s all about seaside snacks.
Try a pot of cockles from the Fresh Fish Shop, or grab a portion of chips and head for the beach.
4. Visit Llanerchaeron country estate
As country estates go, the 18th century Llanerchaeron is pretty small – but it’s still impressive for being virtually unaltered since it was built by John Nash (the man responsible for remodelling Buckingham Palace).
See how those above and below stairs lived before checking out the estate’s secret lake, walled garden and old farm buildings (01545 570200; nationaltrust.org.uk).
5. Discover Aberaeron
Nearby Aberaeron is a pretty Georgian town which looks neat and orderly for a reason – it was planned by an act of Parliament in 1807.
Have a drink on the terrace of the Monachty Arms and admire the rainbow of brightly painted houses lining the harbour.
Need to know
When to go: While this part of Wales certainly has its charms in winter, the Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre is open from April until September, which is also when you’ll get the best weather in New Quay.
Getting there: Aberystwyth and Carmarthen stations are 20 miles away.
Language: You’ll find all signs in Welsh and in English in these parts, and most locals speak both languages too.
Getting around: Hire a car to explore the villages and country lanes at leisure. See easycar.com/tntmagazine for 5 per cent off.
Going out: A beer costs about £2.70.
Accommodation: A single room in a B&B starts at £20.